Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) should centre on job creation, crime and housing, says Paul Graham, executive director at the Institute for Democracy in Africa (Idasa).
“Indeed, since our recent Afrobarometer survey started asking South Africans what government should prioritise, job creation tops the list. People are expecting the President to focus on job creation, crime and housing as they remain the most urgent issues that people believe government should address,” he said.
President Zuma will deliver the 2013 SONA in Parliament in Cape Town at 7pm today.
Graham said corruption had become a big issue in the public domain, and the nation also expected the President to outline a plan on how government was going to intensify its fight against corruption.
He said there had been an upturn of confidence in the economy, adding that South Africans’ impressions of the country’s economy revealed increasing optimism.
“Optimism had dropped sharply in 2008 following the global economic downturn, but 34 percent of South Africans felt the economy had improved in the previous 12 months,” he said.
According to Graham, South Africans were far more positive about government efforts to promote equality and national unity.
Graham said the President should also touch on the issue of social cohesion, as the Idasa survey revealed that 65 percent of South Africans felt government had done a good job of uniting all South Africans.
He further said that while the President was also expected to focus on affirmative action, which the majority of people believe government has promoted very well, Graham said there has been a sharp decline in the positive rating of government attempts to narrow the income gap.
Graham said South Africans criticised government in some policy areas and praised it in others.
“Government received strong approval ratings on the distribution of welfare payments (76 percent), HIV and Aids (71 percent), addressing educational needs (67 percent) and uniting South Africans (65 percent),” he said.